ZX Computing

By Imagine
Spectrum 16K

Published in ZX Computing #9


I bought this program on the strength of Arcadia, an excellent program, and also on the strength of the advertising while accompanied its launch.

The object, so the cassette insert says, is to manoeuvre your Space-Dozer around space, shunting refuse from one galaxy to another, into a black hole. Sounds easy enough, but the sides of your dozer are fragile and the black hole has a strong gravitational pull which seems to suck your dozer in towards the black abyss. The refuse comes in various shapes and sizes, spinning and hurtling through space - and all this in glorious 3D.

Loading the program was easy, it loads first time every time - if it doesn't load it is covered by a guarantee under which Imagine will replace the tape. The loading time was about five minutes.


A 'Schizoids' logo appears and asks you to press any key to begin. And this is where my first criticism arises. Your first glimpses of the program show a black screen with a circle in the middle with what looks like rays coming from it - this is the black hole. Below this is your dozer, complete with a skyhook on the back for picking up refuse. Underneath the graphics are a clock (your score is measured by the length of time you survive rather than the amount of refuse you dump in the black hole - which is rather disconcerting), the number of ships you have (you start with four) and the highest time so far.

Then the refuse appears - cubes, diamond shapes, hexagons, rectangles and bars - all perfectly shown in 3D as they hurtle through space. When they touch the spikes of the black hole, they are sucked down and more refuse emerges onto the screen.

The keys for controlling the dozer are well thought out and are easy to use. The spaceship itself, however, is almost impossible to manoeuvre in the direction you want to go in and, once you've got the ship moving, because of inertia, is almost impossible to get it to stop and get under control.

The controls are left, right and thrust, but in place of a fire button you have a 'flip' control which turns your ship through 180 degrees. The secret is to hit the refuse head-on and not let it hit the side of the dozer. The debris has a tendency to stick to the sides of the craft. Also, the craft sometimes seems to have a lift of its own - but this may be part of the program.

While I enjoyed the game, I do not feel it has reached the high standard set by their previous effort on Arcadia. The program runs in 16K or 48K on a ZX Spectrum and is widely available for £5.50.

Martin Hanrahan